For kids, summer means swimming, sprinkler fun, and lots of cold treats. For parents, it can mean the same, along with increased energy costs, more water usage, and higher utility bills. Hold on to your wallet, and see if you can take advantage of these ways to save.

1. Let Your Gym Membership Lapse

Go work out with your kids instead, or get some exercise while they play.

2. Hoof It

If your children are old enough, and if it's practical and feasible, walk or ride bikes to a few destinations (a playdate, lunch, a trip to the store) instead of taking the car.

3. Travel With Treats

Pack a car cooler for each summer day outing โ€” complete with water jugs, reusable cups, sandwiches, and snacks. If your short outing turns into a long one, there will be less temptation to drive in the drive-thru.

4. Camp in Your Backyard

It requires very little planning and no driving to your destination.

5. Cook Outside on the Grill

Saves the oven heat fighting a war with the air conditioner. Energy savings = $$ savings, and everyone still gets to eat. It's a win-win.

6. And Cook Inside Using Your Slow Cooker

Lots of slow heat means less energy, and less heat, well, heating up the house.

7. Use Reusable Swim Diapers

Even if you're not a fan of cloth diapers, check out the Sun Smarties Swim Diaper by One Step Ahead. Soft, adjustable, and easy to put on and take off. These come in different colors and sizes and are machine washable.

8. Water Your Garden and Your Kids

Set your sprinkler so water lands alternately on those summer vegetables, then on the yard where the kids can play. Two birds, one stone โ€” without the violence.

9. Use Your Ceiling Fans

These handy hang-from-the ceiling contraptions don't actually lower the temperature, but make it feel that way. Turn them on, turn the A/C setting up a few degrees, and see if you can make do.

Disclosure: I received a couple of reusable swim diapers from One Step Ahead to try out (on my one-year-old) Reuse them I have โ€” a few times now. What I've written here is my honest opinion of the product thus far.